Happy New Year's Eve
by Karla ° Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Please drink responsibly.

Or, you know, wear a helmet.

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Merry Christmas Eve
by Karla ° Wednesday, December 24, 2008
I love Christmas. So much in fact, that this year we decided it was time to add another Christmas tree to our holiday décor. That way, whether we were hanging out in the living room or the family room, we wouldn’t miss out on the shimmer and glow of an intrusively large and out of place tree INSIDE OUR HOME. Also, over the years, our old tree seems to have to developed a bit of a lean that we can’t seem to remedy and we sort of thought that if we put the older tree in the family room, no one would even notice our leaning tower of treesa because they would be too busy trying not to stub their toe as they waded through the mountain of florescent plastic toys.

You know, if you think about it, the tradition of a Christmas tree must have totally originated from a some drunk in Bethlehem who was all, “I’m just going to go ahead and decorate this here tree for Jesus.” Because what newborn doesn’t want a life-sized tree covered in delicate glass balls hanging from fish hooks?

Heading to Costco in search of Christmas tree number two, we found a really nice 7.5’ pre-lit tree for $169.99. Thinking that was pretty cheap compared to most other stores, we just sort of shrugged our shoulders and said a silent, totally non-denominational prayer that we now finally own a vehicle large enough to fit it in.

We put our tree up in late November, so the day after Nate’s pre-birthday Birthday party, we decided to haul out all the Christmas decorations. We wanted to make a big deal out of it all for Nate, because you know, he’s only two, but it’s all supposed to be fun for the kids, right? He alternated between helping Mark set up our new tree and helping me organize metallic jewel-toned ornaments still lingering with a hint of last year’s cranberry scent.

It was all so much fun, it really was. Seeing Christmas through the eyes a child chalked full of unassuming splendour is such a trip. Everything about it: the life-loving smile, the squeals of delight, the rustle of giggles. Well, everything except for the part where we plugged our new pre-lit tree in and it started to smoke. Yeah, that part? Not so fun.

That all sort of a put a damper on the whole double tree thing and we decided to just stick with what we knew worked and set up our faithful old leaning tower of treesa. And you know, at the end of the day, despite that tree’s imperfections, I have a sneaking suspicion that Nate still thinks it is 30 feet tall and the most grand and sparkly and brilliant tree ever. But not because this is where we’ve been spending most of our family time together, or where we eat still warm from the oven chocolate chip cookies. No, he just loves this tree because the floor underneath it is covered in PRESENTS!

Wishing you and yours beautiful moments, the warmth of the holiday season, and memories to wrap you in joy this holiday season.

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Sister
by Karla ° Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Ava would have been three, god, almost four this Christmas. The other day Nate pointed to her picture and said “sister.” This totally shocked me because I don’t remember the last time we showed him her photograph. The rate with which a child absorbs the world around them amazes and kind of frightens me, and while trying to hold back the tears welling in my eyes I scooped down and wrapped my arms around his tiny frame in a giant hug and told him that we were going to go and buy a present for him to donate to a special little girl in memory of his sister.

It’s not much, paltry really, in the grand scheme of families in need, especially during these tough economic times, but hopefully, this will spread a bit of warmth and put a smile on a little girl’s face on Christmas morning. I know that’s what I’d have wished for Ava.

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DIBS
by Karla ° Thursday, December 11, 2008
Dear Mark,

Remember the mountain of plastic kid toys and bouncers and exersaucers that have been cluttering the garage floor for the past few months? Yeah, all the crap we’ve tried to take out of our house to make room for like, oh, you know, beer cases and a new wine rack and a Christmas tree? Yeah, well, this morning my van’s doors were frozen shut and I said fuck this and cleaned the chaos of toys in the garage.

Honestly? I froze my ass off, and the entire process involved some rather creative hanging from the rafters and cirque du soleil acrobatics to arrange, no wait, scratch that, stuff all that crap into the storage loft. And because I so could have died from being squashed under a mass of plastic and blinking lights, I so call dibs on parking my car in the garage this winter.

Love,

Your newly skilled wife in rafter hanging acrobatics.

P.S. This may have worked to your advantage in the bedroom, if you know, we had a storage loft in there for me to hang from. I'm sorry, no, the closet organizer does not count.

xo

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My Little Pony
by Karla ° Tuesday, December 9, 2008
My first car was a used circa 1980 Hyundai Pony purchased by my parents for $600. Actually, I don’t even know if “Pony” was technically the model name, but that’s what my Dad called it and I was 16 and too excited to have my own set of wheels to care about the formalities, like the fact that it had no power steering and that the radiator was totally shot and I had to carry several spare jugs of water in my trunk to make sure the car didn’t overheat. And man on man, five bucks worth of gas lasted me for like, an entire week. Oh those where the days, eh? Today it costs, like, what? $100 to fill a van with gas, and then you drive around the block and to the grocery store and the tank is empty.

My Dad and I spent a lot of time bonding while he taught me to drive a standard gear shift on that Pony. And by bonding, I mean most of our conversations were infused with teenage know-it-all-ness and, "Gawwwwd, you’re such a backseat driver DAD!"

But learn how to drive a standard car I did. And it wasn’t long before it was like second nature to me and the clutch and gear shift were so in sync that I could drink a coffee and eat an apple and give Mark a handjob all at the same time.

Where I grew up, there are two parts of town. There are those who live on the top of the big giant hill, and those who live at the bottom of the big giant hill. Mark lived at the top of the hill, and I lived at the bottom. I also grew up in a snowbelt where winter driving can be treacherous at times and after dropping Mark off at his parent’s house, I’ve had more than my fair share of 2:00 am white knuckle rides home down an ice-covered hill. But my Dad, my trusty Dad, he thought of everything and to help with the inevitable fish-tailing of my tiny light-weight Pony, he would weigh down the back end of the car with something heavy, and if I remember correctly, I think it was bags of kitty litter.

My little Pony was never stylish or pimped out with a thumping stereo system, but it got me from A to B, where A equalled home and B equalled high school or work. Or A equalled home and B equalled a secluded place to make out in the backseat with Mark.

That car, despite being a hunk of shit, was my teenage pride and joy right up until the day it totally broke down beyond reasonable repair and my Father decided to sell it. Parking it at the end of the driveway, he proceeded to prop a flashy homemade for sale sign in the windshield with a broomstick, but his knee slipped and that broomstick totally smashed right through the windshield.

Someone bought and hauled away my little Pony for $50.

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'Tis the season
by Karla ° Thursday, December 4, 2008
I’ve been feeling a bit at a loss these days when it comes to writing, because, well, everything I write here is a personal truth and for the most part, I’m so totally fine with my life being an open book. But when it comes to my family, it’s always so hard to know how to put certain things into words when there are firm boundaries to respect, you know?

And here we are, officially reigning in on the season to deck the halls and be merry, but between having a brother that has basically disappeared off of the phone and family radar and having to make difficult and ill-received decisions around Nate’s asthma, I’m stuck in a big ass sombre-hued cloud of frustration.

And because I’m too frustrated to write, and even if I could, I can’t (see above re: boundaries), I’ve been burying my disappointment in shopping malls decked in a riot of red and green-hued decorations and budget-busting size 25 waist wide leg jeans paired with colourful scarves with a hint of Parisian flair.

There may also have been a purchase of a new fancy pants smartphone and more additions to my already abundant collection of hoodies and yoga pants because lets face it, the good old days of tweed-suited adult boardroom conversations won’t be happening anytime soon. God, I can barely remember what a perfectly hemmed pair of pin-stripped pants looks like and I may as well be comfortable when I’m up to my eyeballs in neon-haired PlayDoh creatures, you know?

Fuck. Trying to do what you believe is the right thing isn’t always easy. I kind of want to run away somewhere warm and sip fruity cocktails with cute little umbrella’s pool-side. That may have been an option, except I just totally blew the budget on my own pity party shopping spree.

The new jeans were so worth it, though.

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Attempted creativity
by Karla ° Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Angie had this really adorable photo in a recent post about posing tips for better family photos and I fell in love with this one photo of a little boy sitting on the exact same rocking horse that Nate likes to ride here at home. As soon as I saw it, I just knew it I had to try to recreate the festive scene once we got our Christmas decorations up.

Yesterday, Nate seemed to be a good mood after breakfast so I dressed him up in like, the only collared shirt he owns, which, by the way, my mom bought him, and asked him if he wanted to ride his pony. His eyes met the camera with a fleeting moment of anticipation and glee.


But then Samson was all “Oh Hai! Are you taking pictures? Here, let me just make sure my great big giant dog head gets in the way, mmmkay?”


Once Samson got bored of being all up in our faces, I asked Nate again if he’s like to sit on his pony, but by this point, he was too busy sticking his fingers in its moving singing mouth to bother listening.


But wait! What’s this? Oh yeah baby. Perfect photo op here I come!


Damn! Cut the horse’s head off. Let try again.


And just as I thought I was snapping that perfect photo, guess whose great big giant dog head made a surprise appearance? Go ahead, take a guess.


By this point, Nate was so not having anything to do with his pony anymore. The fleeting moment of toddler focus had suddenly shifted to wanting to be chased by a tickle troll.


And after a riotus session of ticklish belly laughs, I asked him what the chances were of him sitting on his pony for like, one more second, but judging by the hand signal, I’d say he was telling me slim to none.


There’s always tomorrow, or next week. Or, you know, next year.

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